Where Has All the Affective Maturity Gone?

Wow! I have been watching the Jesuit spin machine.  It’s been set on high the last few days. They have been in such a frenzy, they’re tying themselves in knots! The pope has been saying the exact same thing for years now and the liberals know it so I’m not sure it’s worth their effort. Yes, we have homosexual clergy and religious (and yes, he uses that title Fr. Martin so despises), but that doesn’t mean we should stop saying this is imprudent and knowingly let them get to their final vows and promises.

In new book on clergy and religious life, Pope Francis addresses homosexuality

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“The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case. We have to be exacting. In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the Church,” the pope says in the book “The Strength of a Vocation,” set to be released Dec. 3 in ten languages.

What?  “Very serious issue”?   What happened to Fr. Martin and homosexuality’s “special gifts”??? No wonder why he’s working so hard to say that isn’t really what the Holy Father is saying.  I’ve sat here all weekend watching him tweet things like “disingenuous”, “not what he said”, etc. Poor guy, grasping at straws only to find they’ve been banned.

In an excerpt from the book, released Friday by Religión Digital, the pope said he is concerned about the issue of evaluating and forming people with homosexual tendencies in the clergy and consecrated life.

“This is something I am concerned about, because perhaps at one time it did not receive much attention,” he said.

He is right to be concerned. I’m not so sure it hasn’t been given much attention in the last few decades, but it is VERY concerning. Sadly, at least in American seminaries, huge efforts have instead been made to accommodate, recruit and enable homosexuality in the priesthood. In fact, I think it’s fair to say, in many areas heterosexual men have been drummed out of seminary under the “too rigid” canard. They’re the ones who had to sit down and keep their mouths shut if they had any hope of getting to their vocation. So, yes, I’d say homosexuality during formation got a lot of attention – just the wrong kind.

Francis said that with candidates for the priesthood or religious life “we have to take great care during formation in the human and affective maturity. We have to seriously discern, and listen to the voice of experience that the Church also has. When care is not taken in discerning all of this, problems increase. As I said before, it can happen that at the time perhaps they didn’t exhibit [that tendency], but later on it comes out.”

This has really got to rain on the LGBTSJ parade. He just said we have to listen to the experience of the Church which has consistently said that homosexuals should not be admitted to the clergy and religious life. He’s also suggesting serious vetting to make sure there is no homosexual tendency. Wow! Kind of sounds like what a huge chunk of people have been saying for YEARS!!! And here I thought we were super mean for saying that???

Still, let me tell you what the spin is on this is going to be: “Well, of course we have to educate people on integrating their sexuality and their vocation. It’s not that the pope doesn’t think gays should be in the priesthood, it’s just that they need to be educated.” 

“The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case,” the pope reiterated.

Francis recalled that one time “I had a somewhat scandalized bishop here who told me that he had found out that in his diocese, a very large diocese, there were several homosexual priests and that he had to deal with all that, intervening, above all, in the formation process, to form a different group of clergy.”

Umm, please note that the Holy Father didn’t say that this bishop was a big meanie nor that he was wrong to intervene in the formation process that allowed ordination of several homosexual priests. (Apparently Pope Francis didn’t get the memo from Fr. Martin that we are supposed to call them “gay”, not “homosexual”, because that’s their preference. He’s apparently as disrespectful as the rest of us.) Pope Francis is saying that this is what needs to be done.

“It’s a reality we can’t deny. There is no lack of cases in the consecrated life either. A religious told me that, on a canonical visit to one of the provinces in his congregation, he was surprised. He saw that there were good young students and even some already professed religious who were gay,” he related.

The pope said that the religious “wondered if it were an issue and asked me if there was something wrong with that.” Francis said he was told by one religious superior that the issue was not “that serious, it’s just an expression of an affection.”

Let’s take time to ponder this. Nowhere did the Holy Father nor the religious superior indicate that these religious who were homosexual were committing homosexual acts.  Meanwhile, Fr. Martin has been working overtime to equate “affection” with “homosexual acts” while at the same time telling everyone else, “the pope didn’t say that.” Well, hello, Fr. Martin! The Holy Father didn’t say the religious superior was wondering if it was OK for his guys to have homosexual sex! Geez.

“That’s a mistake,” Francis warned. “It’s not just an expression of an affection. In consecrated and priestly life, there’s no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the Church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life. The ministry or the consecrated life is not his place.”

BOOM! No, it’s not another earthquake in Alaska. Several Jesuit heads just exploded all at once. Just for fun, I looked up “affection.” Nowhere is the definition sex of any kind nor is it a verb. Oops.

“af·fec·tion /əˈfekSH(ə)n/ noun

  1. a gentle feeling of fondness or liking”

 

We “have to urge homosexual priests, and men and women religious to live celibacy with integrity, and above all, that they be impeccably responsible, trying to never scandalize either their communities or the faithful holy people of God by living a double life. It’s better for them to leave the ministry or the consecrated life rather than to live a double life.”

Fr. Martin and buddies seem quite fond of trying to use this particular quote to say, “See!  It’s OK if gays are allowed to enter the priesthood or religious life as long as they keep their vows and promises!” This is not what Pope Francis is saying in the least. The Holy Father is acknowledging the sad reality that the poor screening (or, in my opinion, reverse screening) has allowed people to make vows and promises that weren’t suited to do so. Those who have been allowed to do so must live chaste, celibate lives and not cause scandal. Duh!  It doesn’t mean that we should keep the status quo of putting them in situations of temptation.   

The pope was asked in the book if there are limits to what can be tolerated in formation.

“Of course. When there are candidates with neurosis, marked imbalances, difficult to channel not even with therapeutic help, they shouldn’t be accepted to either the priesthood or the religious life, They should be helped to take another direction (but they should not be abandoned. They should be guided, but they should not be admitted. Let us always bear in mind that they are persons who are going to live in the service of the Church, of the Christian community, of the people of God. Let’s not forget that perspective. We have to care for them so they are psychologically and affectively healthy,” the pope replied.

Umm, he just paraphrased “Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood”, a document Fr. Martin and ilk would rather you didn’t know about, so please give it a read. 

10. It is possible that the candidate – notwithstanding his own commitment and the support of the psychologist, or psychotherapy – could continue to show himself unable to face realistically his areas of grave immaturity – even given the gradual nature of all human growth. Such areas of immaturity would include strong affective dependencies; notable lack of freedom in relations; excessive rigidity of character; lack of loyalty; uncertain sexual identity; deep-seated homosexual tendencies; etc. If this should be the case, the path of formation will have to be interrupted.

The same is also true if it becomes evident that the candidate has difficulty living chastity in celibacy: that is, if celibacy, for him, is lived as a burden so heavy that it compromises his affective and relational equilibrium.”

Just like Pope Francis, nowhere does this document say that one simply has to keep to chastity and celibacy to enter the priesthood. Evidence that one cannot is just one more reason to bar them from formation. Uncertain sexual identity and deep-seated homosexual tendencies are enough.

Another little document (and by little I mean big) that Fr. Martin and friends don’t want you to know about is “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders”:

This document states that:

In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question[9], cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”[10].

Can you see why the LGBTSJ crowd and those that support calling them that might not want you to see this document??? Seminarians are not even supposed to “support the so-called ‘gay culture’” to be admitted to seminary, and we’ve got way too many priests already ordained who participate in “pride parades!” 

Why aren’t they supposed to be allowed? Oh, yes, there is one very good reason.

Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women

Both of these important documents on admission to the priesthood talk of “affective maturity.” We need to get this back into the discussion because it is very important, yet the homosexual lobby (can people really deny there’s one of these anymore?) doesn’t understand it in the least. I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen the term used in America Magazine lately, if ever. Pope John Paul II tells us what it is and why it’s a decisive factor for the priesthood in “Pastores Dabo Vobis” (emphasis mine).

In this context affective maturity, which is the result of an education in true and responsible love, is a significant and decisive factor in the formation of candidates for the priesthood.

  1. Affective maturity presupposes an awareness that love has a central role in human life. In fact, as I have written in the encyclical Redemptor Hominis, “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself; his life is meaningless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.(126)

We are speaking of a love that involves the entire person, in all his or her aspects – physical, psychic and spiritual – and which is expressed in the “nuptial meaning” of the human body, thanks to which a person gives oneself to another and takes the other to oneself. A properly understood sexual education leads to understanding and realizing this “truth” about human love. We need to be aware that there is a widespread social and cultural atmosphere which “largely reduces human sexuality to the level of something commonplace, since it interprets and lives it in a reductive and impoverished way by linking it solely with the body and with selfish pleasure.“(127) Sometimes the very family situations in which priestly vocations arise will display not a few weaknesses and at times even serious failings.

In such a context, an education for sexuality becomes more difficult but also more urgent. It should be truly and fully personal and therefore should present chastity in a manner that shows appreciation and love for it as a “virtue that develops a person’s authentic maturity and makes him or her capable of respecting and fostering the ‘nuptial meaning’ of the body.”(128)

Education for responsible love and the affective maturity of the person are totally necessary for those who, like the priest, are called to celibacy, that is, to offer with the grace of the Spirit and the free response of one’s own will the whole of one’s love and care to Jesus Christ and to his Church. In view of the commitment to celibacy, affective maturity should bring to human relationships of serene friendship and deep brotherliness a strong, lively and personal love for Jesus Christ. As the synod fathers have written, “A love for Christ, which overflows into a dedication to everyone, is of the greatest importance in developing affective maturity. Thus the candidate, who is called to celibacy, will find in affective maturity a firm support to live chastity in faithfulness and joy.”(129)

Since the charism of celibacy, even when it is genuine and has proved itself, leaves one’s affections and instinctive impulses intact, candidates to the priesthood need an affective maturity which is prudent, able to renounce anything that is a threat to it, vigilant over both body and spirit, and capable of esteem and respect in interpersonal relationships between men and women. A precious help can be given by a suitable education to true friendship, following the image of the bonds of fraternal affection which Christ himself lived on earth (cf. Jn. 11:5). 

Human maturity, and in particular affective maturity, requires a clear and strong training in freedom, which expresses itself in convinced and heartfelt obedience to the “truth of one’s own being, to the “meaning” of one’s own existence, that is to the “sincere gift of self” as the way and fundamental content of the authentic realization of self.(130) Thus understood, freedom requires the person to be truly master of oneself, determined to fight and overcome the different forms of selfishness and individualism which threaten the life of each one, ready to open out to others, generous in dedication and service to one’s neighbor. This is important for the response that will have to be given to the vocation, and in particular to the priestly vocation, and for faithfulness to it and to the commitments connected with it, even in times of difficulty. On this educational journey toward a mature, responsible freedom, the community life of the seminary can provide help.(131)

So, I’m just going to say it. I don’t see affective maturity in priests who are more focused on “coming out,” encouraging others to “come out”, etc. Instead, I see them acting in a manner that “largely reduces human sexuality to the level of something commonplace, since it interprets and lives it in a reductive and impoverished way by linking it solely with the body and with selfish pleasure.” JPII NAILED IT! Our priests need affective maturity so they can correctly relate to men and women. This is why I’ve said before that I don’t want my priests to consider themselves “gay priests” or “heterosexual priests.”  I just want them to consider themselves faithful priests. The pro-LGBTQXYZ clergy and religious are striving for the wrong title. They wouldn’t know affective maturity if it bit them in the behind.